Getting caught on barbs

close up of a single barb on a barbed wire fence

I’m reading a book about grit at the moment, but I’m struggling to finish it.

The Alanis Morissette “we’ll-call-it-ironic-but-it’s-not-irony” meter is going fucking wild.

If it were a book about mushrooms or surfing or Estonia or anything except the skill of sticking with difficult things, I wouldn’t have any problem putting it down.

“This book about mushrooms is boring, terribly written, bullshit” I would tell myself and I’d move on. But because this book is about seeing things through, I feel much more obliged to finish it.

Clever of the book, stupid of me.

This book has a tiny, built-in barb, which is catching on my pride. It’s threatening to expose that I might be the kind of person who quits important things (starting with this book).

In this situation, the tendency is to look for barbs and avoid them. But the real trick (and the more difficult task) is to look at what the barb is catching on, and give some attention to that.

This barb is catching on my pride. It’s not about the book, it’s not even about strategically quitting something, it’s about being perceived as a quitter.

Finding where the barbs dig in isn’t the most pleasant exercise, since you’re necessarily looking for tender, vulnerable spots but it’s super-valuable.

Once you find them, you can acknowledge them, slowly take the barbs out and work on letting them heal over properly.

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BTW – The book is Grit, by Angela Duckworth and it’s actually very good.

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